Lessons Learned and Au revoir, New York

Today I leave New York City and return to my now-familiar haunts in upstate New York.  I enjoy the dip into the big city, drawing energy from the crowds on the sidewalks, the taxis blaring by, horns in counterpoint, the aromatic steam rising from the food trucks, all waking me early and filling the well.

I’ve been doing back flips into the research pool, and must admit climbing out to go back to my day job reminds me of being summoned from the neighborhood pool on hot summer days when I was a child. I also had to deal with the magpie this week, as I kept finding interesting side paths while working on my article.  I am proud to say I just kept putting notes in an idea file for future research trips.

My husband came to the city yesterday morning, so I managed to meet my date night goal.  We didn’t do anything much, but wandered around the city and talked.

Tomorrow, I’m starting the blogging class taught by Kristen Lamb at wana.intl, and am looking forward to learning and improving.

Speaking of learning, I want to share something I learned from the academic writing group in which I participate. This quote is from Dame Eleanor Hull’s post where she attributes the quotation to Dr. Isis’ post here.

“A friend just gave me a new framework for ways of comparing things: normative, ipsative and aspirational. So think about reaching a goal, say training for a marathon.  Normative – how do I compare to others around me with whom I train: are they getting better faster than me? Ipsative – how do I compare to where I was: am I running at a consistently faster pace than a month ago? Aspirational – how do I compare to where I want to be – can I run 20 miles without puking?”

It made me think about how we can make these comparisons negative or positive, depending on our psyche, or our mood of the moment. For example, I could take the normative comparison to beat myself up–”this acquaintance easily wins NaNo every year, so I’m a failure since I haven’t ever won.” Or the aspirational comparison could be so far out of reach as to be ridiculous–”I’ll have a book contract and three novels under my belt by this time next year.”

However, I can make positive normative and aspirational goals, which are the kind that work best in ROW80.  I have to admit, though, that I am intrigued by ipsative goals, where I compare myself to me, and I can celebrate progress, or even give myself little rewards. 🙂

Also, Kait gave a wonderful explanation and rationale for visiting each other and strengthening this great community in her check-in post.  You can find everyone here.

Let me know what you think about these comparison techniques for goals, and how you might use the different techniques in your own goals.  I love to hear from you.


12 thoughts on “Lessons Learned and Au revoir, New York”

  1. I personally think we need to learn and draw inspiration from others rather than compare. Like you say it’s easy to go down the negative route with that one. Hope you enjoy the blogging class and have a good week.

  2. I like the idea of comparing me to me. After all, the only person I have any power to change or improve is – you guessed it – me. Comparing ourselves to others makes us negative. We’re either jealous of their success or down on ourselves because we don’t measure up to them. Either way, it’s not a positive thing. I openly admit that I’m VERY guilty of comparing myself to others and reacting in both of these ways (depending on my state of mind that day).

    Nice post! Good luck with your ROW80 goals. I fell short this week…but I’ll do better next week.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who fights the green-eyed monster! I like your point that I am the only one I can change, so why compare with anyone else? I’m glad you liked the post–thank you!

      And don’t worry too much about not meeting your goals–they are goals, after all. We just pick ourselves up and go back to work. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I’m the same as you Sharon. I tend to be so down on myself and comparing myself to others and never measuring up. Even when reading, I will look at the writing and think I will never be this good. I found this post inspiring and interesting Elizabeth. Thank you.
    Have a good week.
    (I love New York. I went there for my honeymoon and have fond memories of it.) x

    1. Ah, I do that, too, Laura. Although sometimes I will read something and think I could write better than that, too! *grin*

      I’m glad you found the post inspiring–thank you! And I imagine a honeymoon in New York would be simply magical! x

  4. I don’t think it’s ever a good idea to compare yourself to others. That’s like comparing apples to oranges. We should always try to do a little better as we progress, whether it’s writing, publishing, losing weight, etc. You KNOW you’ve come a long way, Elizabeth. 🙂

    1. Thanks for coming by to share your common sense with me, Lauralynn. You’re right, we should compared with ourselves, so that it makes sense, not with someone who is so different!

      I DO know I’ve come a long way, Lauralynn–thank you for reminding me! 🙂

  5. Great post… especially the “comparing myself to me” part. This is how I’m tackling NaNo. Since it’s my first time, will 30,000 words be a failure? No, because it’s more than I’ve ever done in a month.

    Can’t wait to hear what you think of Lamb’s class. I bought her book, but it’s sitting in a pile. I hear so many wonderful things about her, her books, and her classes.

    Hugs to you!

    1. I’m still working on the comparing myself to myself, Tia, but I think it’s very important to do so. 30,000 words in a month is in no way a failure! Anything that is a stretch toward a new habit is a victory. 🙂

      The class makes me do uncomfortable things (like write about myself, as I mention in my latest check-in), but I am learning a lot, even in the early days. Thats how I’m trying to stretch myself 😀

      I just read your NaNo prep–I’m so rooting for you! Big hugs back atcha!

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